Everything is Awesome: The 17 Awesomest Official LEGO Sets

By on November 14, 2014


Back in the 1990s, LEGO was the struggling toy brick company that adults looked back on nostalgically, but couldn’t make a buck.

Until 1999, when LEGO started to license the brick out of it.

Then things started rocking, and 15 years later, LEGO has produced a dizzying array of licensed sets from a number of A-list pop culture properties including Star Wars (one of the first), Harry Potter, Batman, The Lord of the Rings,  The Hobbit, The Simpsons and even Back to the Future. The list goes on.

This year saw the introduction of The LEGO Movie licensed sets, which was kind of like, whoa, dude, it’s like turning in on itself!

But LEGO is not all about the licensed toys. There’s still the classic and long-running LEGO City, LEGO Space, LEGO Castle and LEGO Technic themes, as well as more recent popular themes like LEGO Architecture, LEGO Creator, LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO Ninjago, LEGO Legends of Chima and the girl-friendly LEGO Friends. LEGO Pirates are also coming back in 2015 after a 6-year hiatus.

There’s even LEGO Ideas (formerly known as CUUSOO) which is a program that produces fan-submitted ideas through a Kickstarter-like process. That’s how the LEGO Minecraft and Back to the Future sets were born.

We are truly now in the Golden Age of LEGO, and everything is awesome! Let’s take a look at 20 incredibly awesome official LEGO sets from the past 10 years. (Hey, we had to limit this somehow. Otherwise, this list would be huge!)

Special thanks to Brickset for their awesome LEGO site and passionate users!

17. LEGO Movie Metal Beard’s Sea Cow (70810)

Taken from this year’s big hit The LEGO Movie, Metal Beard’s Sea Cow is an over-the-top mishmash numbering over 2,700 pieces. It’s the largest set from the series and is already considered one of the best ships ever produced by LEGO.

It also includes the all-important double-decker couch.

Release year: 2014  |  Price: $250 – Amazon

Metal Beard's Sea Cow 70810


16. LEGO Star Wars Super Star Destroyer (10221)

Released in 2011, this Ultimate Collector Series Star Wars set contains over 3,000 pieces and is no longer in production. eBay is your only hope to find it now.

Release year: 2011  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

LEGO Super Star Destroyer


15. LEGO Back to the Future The DeLorean Time Machine (21103)

Born out of the LEGO CUUSOO site (now known as LEGO Ideas), the iconic BTTF DeLorean Time Machine is a fan-submitted design that became an official retail set. Numbering 401 pieces, the set features the famous gull-wing doors, the flux capacitor, Marty McFly and his skateboard and of course Doc Brown.

This is a great time to be a LEGO fan!

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $35 Amazon

Delorean Time Machine 21103

14. LEGO Creator Palace Cinema (10232)

A treat for movie buffs, this 2,196-piece Expert set is inspired by movie palaces of yesteryear. It’s part of the Modular Buildings series where you can piece together different sets to form a city block.

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $150 – Amazon

Palace Cinema 10232

13. LEGO Indiana Jones Temple Escape (7623)

Indiana Jones and LEGOs: awesome! This fun 554-piece set recreates the iconic boulder scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and contains a minifigure for Jock, Indy’s pilot as well as one for the unfortunate Satipo who famously implores Indy to “throw me the idol, I throw you the whip!”

Yeah, that didn’t end well.

Release year: 2007  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

Temple Escape 7623

12. LEGO The Hobbit An Unexpected Gathering (79003)

Since its release in late 2012 to coincide with the release of The Hobbit, the 652-piece Unexpected Gathering set has won praise from LEGO and Tolkien fans alike. It’s as detailed as the movie scene it recreates is long. Which is to say, it’s very detailed.

Release year: 2012  |  Price: $63 – AmazonAn Unexpected Gathering 79003

11. LEGO Creator Expert Sydney Opera House (10234)

Containing nearly 3,000 pieces and priced over $300, the Sydney Opera Set is a faithful rendering of the landmark structure, aimed squarely at adult fans of LEGOs, aka AFOLs. Standing nearly a foot tall, the set doesn’t have minifigures and the instruction booklet contains text and illustrations about the history and construction of the opera house.

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $320Amazon

Sydney Opera House 10234

10. LEGO Star Wars Ewok Village (10236)

Just a year after it was introduced, the Ewok Village, with its near 2,000-piece count, is already in the firmament of greatest Star Wars LEGO sets ever made.

Say what you will about the cinematic worthiness of Ewoks, but they make very entertaining toys. Thanks, George.

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $250 Amazon

Ewok Village 10236

9. LEGO Architecture Studio (21050)

With no specific instructions and over 1,200 white and transparent pieces, the Architecture Studio is aimed at the builder who likes to use their own inspiration to create memorable LEGO sets. You get 73 different types of building bricks and a thick book that teaches you about architectural concepts.

This is a long way from Star Wars LEGOs!

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $160 – Walmart


8. LEGO Pirates Black Seas Barracuda (10040)

Containing 865 pieces and 8 minifigures, the classic Black Seas Barracuda set is so good that it got re-released in 2002, 13 years after it was first introduced, and thus makes it eligible to appear on our list! Har!

Release year: 2002  |  Price: varies (not in production) – Amazon Marketplace

Black Seas Barracuda 10040


7. LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector’s Imperial Shuttle (10212)

Another Star Wars set, another Ultimate Collector Series toy, 2,500 pieces of pure awesome.

Release year: 2010  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

Imperial Shuttle 10212

6. LEGO Monster Fighters Haunted House (10228)

It has just recently gone out of production, but the 2064-piece Haunted House is destined to become a sought-after commodity among LEGO builders. It’s been praised for the attention to detail, creativity, unique minifigures and the way it opens like a dollhouse.

Release year: 2012  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

LEGO Haunted House 10228


5. LEGO Castle Medieval Market Village (10193)

Consisting of over 1,000 pieces, the Medieval Market Village is a tavern, blacksmith’s workshop and open market with various animal figures, including two cows and a rat. For Castle fans, this is considered the best of the modern sets.

Release year: 2009  |  Price: varies (not in production) – Amazon Marketplace

Medieval Market Village 10193

5. LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon (10179)

This set boasts a mind-blowing 5,195 pieces, giving it the second-highest piece count after the Taj Mahal (#3 on our list). It’s also the largest sized model (33″ x 22″ x 8.3″) and most expensive set ($500 retail) ever made commercially available by LEGO.

Release year: 2007  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

Millennium Falcon 10179


4. LEGO Lord of the Rings Tower of Orthanc (10237)

As featured last year right here on The Checkout, the Tower of Orthanc is a ridiculously awesome set featuring six floors containing over 2,300 pieces and Treebeard the Ent among many other delights.

It’s an amazing-looking LEGO set.

Release year: 2013  |  Price: $250 – Amazon 

Tower of Orthanc 10237


3. LEGO Creator Taj Mahal (10189)

With the highest piece count of any LEGO set ever at a jaw-dropping 5,922 bricks in all, the Taj Mahal had to be on this list. The amazingly detailed and realistic set is a challenge for even the most seasoned builders.

Even if you’re not a fan of LEGOs or even toys, this is one you just have to see for yourself.

Release year: 2008  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

Taj Mahal 10189

2. LEGO Creator Grand Carousel (10196)

This Advanced Model LEGO set actually moves and plays music like a real carousel and has over 3,000 pieces. A real crowd-pleaser with great use of color, an intricate design and long-lasting playability that’s aimed not just at Star Wars fans.

Release year: 2008  |  Price: varies (not in production) – eBay

Grand Carousel 10196

1. LEGO Star Wars Death Star (10188)

The LEGO Death Star—containing 3,803 pieces and an impressive 24 minifigs—is oft cited as the greatest set ever created. So be it… Jedi.

Six years after release, it’s still in production, a testament to its staying power.

Release year: 2008  |  Price: $400  – Amazon

Death Star 10188

Check Out Part Two: The 10 Awesomest Unofficial Lego Sets

About Joe Warner

I'm the senior editor of The CheckOut. I am an aficionado of shiny gadgets and classic Hollywood movies and can also tell you the names of the late '80s Swedish Davis Cup team members.

One Comment

  1. thinh

    November 14, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    A great gift for Christmas’ gift!

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